Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Programmer & Dishwasher

My son is turning 14 in a couple of weeks. He's a great kid. Pretty normal for his age - messy hairstyle, messy room, into girls and making his way through the 8th grade.

Of course, he's special to me in a lot of ways ;)

Sometimes he'll walk up beside me at the kitchen sink and just start rinsing dishes for me. I always expect he'll have something to say to me, but he's usually just quiet... and returns to his room when we're done. It always makes me smile. And it seems to me he's just a little bit taller standing there beside me each time :)

He's gotten a bit of a funny streak about him lately, too. Every once in awhile he'll call me "parental unit". It really threw me off guard the first couple of times, but I finally just got used to it :p I still have no idea what it means, even after doing a quick search on Google (all I found were sites like this and this - seems to be a common term on teen blogs). I've been told it's something from a movie...

Anyway - goofy, funny teenager that he is... he is also a very bright kid. He's been studying C++ in his spare time, using the internet to figure out everything that he can. Every once in awhile he'll call me in there to show me some "way cool thing-a-ma-jig" that he can do... but it's all pretty much greek to me so I just smile and say "that's great! way to go!" :) :)

If you've ever seen the cartoon Dexter's Lab, well - that's pretty much what it's like at my house (and Ann Marie makes a really great Dee Dee haha). LOL

I'm really proud of him of course, and very impressed that he has the initiative and the drive to teach himself a programming language at 13 years old. He isnt just interested in the programming... he actually has a project in mind, and learning the language is necessary for him to turn this idea into the product he would like to develop.

We were talking about it a bit more the other day in the car. He was telling me that there is a guy in Michigan that is taking college courses... and he publishes his papers on the internet. That, and a programming forum, are the two places he gets most of his information & resources. I encouraged him, of course - and told him to let me know if there were any courses or programs or books he might need along the way...

The project itself is pretty impressive - especially that he would come up with it after being exposed to a similar model, consider the financial aspects... and begin to map out a course of action to put himself where he wants to be.

Let's just hope he doesnt get distracted by dating and driving and... well, being a teenager - at least not to the point that he forgets his dream. Fun is important too. And I dont see him lacking in that area at the moment - he's pretty much on the go. Here's hoping he can maintain that balance ;)

Of course my daughter is wonderful too, but I believe she's still in that "I want to be a rock star" phase at the moment. Nine is a sweet age... she's still oblivious to the "real world", you know ;)

Gotta love that!

As for me, I am finally starting to return to my work. Just a bit at a time, but I'm hoping I can make that transition fully by the end of this week. There is still much on my mind, and the days just sort of seem to be coming and going a little quicker than usual.

Monday, September 26, 2005

It's Never Too Late

It's never too late to try again.
Or even to try for the very first time.

It doesnt matter how old we get.
Or how many times we fail.
Or how bad we fail.

It doesnt matter what happened before,
or what might happen in the future.

And it doesnt matter if we didnt meet our
own self-imposed deadlines.

All that really matters is that we decide what is important to us, and pursue it with all of the talent and energy that we have.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Turning Points

There comes a time where a milestone or an event will create a new path for us in life. Not like the normal twists and turns of life as the years pass, but something that influences us with great depth and gives us no choice but to make dramatic changes. I call these turning points.

I've had several significant turning points in my life. I've always said that my son being sick, as sad and scary as those years were, turned out to be the beginning of some of the best times - and certainly the most positive changes - in our lives.

Taking care of my Grandmother certainly left its mark on me as well. Many wonderful memories were created, and old memories were shared and relived. What I've walked away with is invaluable. And now, with her passing, I can feel a major shift coming on... and I know I will look back on this time as another major turning point in my life.

It pays to recognize and respect these invisible guides throughout life. They usually come in the worst form, strip us clean, but then leave us with much more than they took. Less like a test, and more like a preparation ritual.

Without them we might become complacent and never veer from what is comfortable or familiar. Change comes hard, and usually only when forced.

I saw that in Katrina, as devastating and horrific as it was... I knew that there were many people out there that were getting a second chance. A time to start over, with a clean slate. Perhaps to walk away from a life that was mundane or difficult... and begin again in a new place, with new hope in their heart.

Obviously this wasnt the case for everyone affected by Katrina, but coupled with the sadness and horror that I felt for those victims... I knew in my heart that there were some that would look back on this as a major positive turning point in their lives.

Fate or Free Will? It always makes for a good debate. We all know that we wont live forever, so I guess you could say the passing of my 93yo Grandmother was "fate". But I know in my heart that what happens in my life from this point forward is certainly "free will".

When my thoughts finally do settle and things become more clear, I know that I will be ready to move forward. Not now, but hopefully soon. At the moment my mind is so full of thoughts day and night that just thinking is consuming every ounce of energy that I have.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I could use your help at the SSWT Forum...

During the time that I've been away this past week, there were many posts at the SSWT Forum. I've removed the ads that were posted here and there, and welcomed the newer members... but I could really use a few extra hands in making sure all of the questions get answered. If you could take a few minutes to visit the forum, or scan through this list to see if you might be able to offer some input... it would be greatly appreciated :)

There are also a couple of Introduction Posts by New Members that could use a quick Hello or Welcome.

Spammer using online contact forum and email
She's suddenly getting spam email that's being generated from 2 of her websites through the use of her contact form that she has set up on the sites.

Traffic Exchanges....Do They Work?
If anyone out there uses this method successfully please let me know otherwise I'm ditching traffic exchanges as a promotional tool.

What do you look for in a website?
I agree with these people, its missing "something" I am redoing the site now and have changed the colors etc and added some links to articles that I have written...

Help with google ad
Can anyone lend a hand as to what I can do to help this campaign?

Clicksensor V2
Has anyone heard of this tool Clicksensor v2 (http://www.clicksensor.com/) by Robert Plank?

Are they selling?
I am curious as to what ebook sales are like these days. I promote them a lot but sales are at a all bottom low. I don't just market any ebook either - I seek those that are in line with my niche. Any advice?


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Saturday Morning

I'm not exactly sure where to pick back up. I have a whole life that has been patiently waiting in the sidelines this past week. It's all still there - dart league, work, emails, the school schedule... and even dishes and laundry. There's some sort of comfort in that.

The fair was in town this week, so after everyone flew out and things settled down a bit... it was nice to spend Friday with my daughter and see her have such a good time. They had let school out for the day so that the kids could all go, which was nice. Ann Marie was really close with my grandmother, too. It's just been a hard week.

I dont really have a lot to say... other than that I miss her very much. I feel like time will help me to sort through my thoughts and feelings, so I am just letting time pass and taking things one day at a time.

The children are spending the weekend with family & friends, so this is the first quiet day I've had to myself. Something I imagine I'll enjoy very much.

I think I'll start with coffee...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Saying Goodbye

My grandmother passed away peacefully this evening around 5pm. She was 93 years old, and lived an incredibly fulfilling life…

Even though she had been slipping away gradually over the last few months… well, I guess you’re never truly prepared to lose someone that you love.

I’m grateful for the last two years that we had together… the laughs, long talks and the good meals. She was a good woman, and very much an inspiration to me.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Current Posts at the SSWT Forum

I could really use your input at the SSWT Forum on some of the newest questions & discussions! Below is a quick list of the latest threads you can scan through... if you can post a quick reply or contribute in any way it would be greatly appreciated :-)

How to identify a Target Market

How do you choose a subject to write an ebook on?

Where do I find Step-by-Step help for getting started??

Can any one give me details regarding e-currency trading?

Help wanted in Google SERPs

Any thought on web rings as a means to SEO?

Frustrated with Google Adwords

Suggestions needed for an easier way to pay my affiliates

Dropshipper/Wholesaler resources

Also, there is a "Link Exchange Forum" where you can post specific requests for relevant link exchanges, and browse the posts for potential link partners. Be sure to read the guidelines before posting... and then let us know what kind of links you are looking for!

See you at the forum!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Gas Prices

I got a grin out of this ;) Thought you would, too!

"Hurricane Relief" - Great note from Paul Myers

Hurricane Relief

Copyright TalkBiz, Inc. 2005

No, I'm not going to tell you that you need to get out there and do something to help those folks. You've heard it all before. If you're inclined to help, you're already doing it.

I'd like to warn you about some scams going around where unscrupulous people (mostly spammers, if you can believe that) want to turn your desire to help to their personal benefit. They know that, when it comes to helping others, you're more likely to give a stranger the benefit of the doubt.

Be careful.

Jim and Audri Lanford have put together a brief and eye-opening piece that explains some of what you've got to look out for.


Read it. While you're at it, subscribe.

You'll be very glad you did.


Armand Morin sent out a note recently in which he blasted someone for offering links to various agencies where you can donate and be sure your money's going to actually help someone who needs it.

The guy (not Armand, the one he blasted) required that you opt-in to a list in order to get those links. Armand called this dude a "marketing scumbag."

I got three words for you, Armand:

"Preach it, Bro!"

If you want to contribute, or find out what else you can do to help out, here are some numbers for you:

American Red Cross: 800-435-7669
Salvation Army: 800-725-2769
United Way: 800-272-4630
MercyCorps: 888-256-1900
Habitat for Humanity: 800-422-4828
America's Second Harvest: 800-771-2303


I'm not going to discuss the job the state and Federal governments are doing. I don't use that kind of language in this newsletter.

If you can do something in your community to help people get through this or get back on their feet, that may be your best bet.

A lot of local churches, of all denominations, are organizing relief drives. That may be a good place to check out if you're wondering what you can do to help, but just don't know how to start.


On the subject of religious organizations and their response to this disaster, I have a few comments. I'm not a religious guy, but I've always believed that the best neighbors you can have are real libertarians or true Christians. (Either group can be of virtually any religion, if you think about it.)

Note that I said **true* Christians.

There's another variety out there that I call "Born Against" Christians. A lot of those people are saying that this disaster is a message from on high.

Well, I've got a message for them.

To the alleged "Christians" who believe "this is God's
punishment on the people of New Orleans for their
wickedness and evil," I offer this thought:

If you believe that your God punishes the wicked by
drowning the poor, the sick, the very old and the very
young, alone in their beds and their attics...

If you believe that your God requires that mothers watch
as their children die of dehydration as penance for
the "sins" of others...

If you believe that your God would willingly drive people
to starvation, hopelessness and despair to make a point...

If you believe any of this, I suggest that you might be
confused. True, there is an entity in the Christian faith
that would do all of these things, but...

Its name is not God.


A friend of mine pointed out that there are people from various faiths, not all Christian, that think Katrina is the Hammer of God, smiting the Sinners of New Orleans. He's probably right, but the only ones I hear talking this nonsense claim to be Christian.

Most of them are middle-aged white folk, twisting their religion to justify their hate and spite and prejudice.

Speaking as a middle-aged white guy, and on behalf of sane middle-aged white folk everywhere, I'd like to apologize for the behavior of these cretins.

We don't like them either.


If you're one of those people and want to try and sell me on your ideas about God, visit http://www.buy-paul-a-beer.com and tell me all about it. ***

"Get Ready For The Storm"

Sounds like I'm a little late, don't it?

For those of you who aren't familiar with that part of the world, there's a scary and little-mentioned fact that you need to know about hurricanes. They have an actual season.
And there's almost three months left to it.


There are a lot of other types of storms. There are tornadoes and tsunamis, snow storms and ice storms, and all the private and personal storms of life.

Take some time and plan what you'd do in an emergency that required you to leave your home - or to stay in it - for an extended period.


If you're the kind who likes to help out others, the best thing you can do is build your business faster, and put something aside for that, too.

I've spoken to a lot of people lately who'd like to help out the folks in the South but can't. They don't have it to give.

My advice: Start a project that's designed to build up a reserve. If you need it yourself, it'll be there. If you don't, you can help someone else when they need it.

Either way, you'll be prepared.


Think about it.

The best thing you can do for others, and yourself, is to have the resources to deal with whatever life throws at you.

Get going. Get ready.

And enjoy life. It's the best preparation you can make.


*** Yep. Beer, the Yankees and the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans,
all on one page. That ought to freak the crazies out. ;)


In departure from the usual policy for this newsletter, any portion of the content of this issue may be forwarded or reprinted, with or without attribution, as you see fit.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A Special Day...

Today is my youngest childs birthday. Ann Marie is turning 9 years old... and sweeter than ever. Over the weekend she got her hair bobbed off and it is absolutely adorable. We're heading out after school to get her ears pierced and go on a little shopping spree to top off the birthday fun :)

As a mother, it's a special day for me too - an anniversary of the day my last child was born. It's hard to believe it's been nine years already. Unbelievable.

When she was born I was working full time as a Unix Sys Admin. I took 2 weeks off - the week before she was born, and the week after (I had scheduled delivery LOL). That's funny to me now, but at the time it was just necessary.

She was beautiful. Almost 8lbs and a head full of dark hair. Five months later I quit my job to start my first business and we moved to the city.

There were those first few crazy start-up months where I was answering phones while changing diapers, and trying to manage banking and invoicing with a fussy baby girl on my hip. During that year her hair turned blonde and she started walking...

Then there was preschool and her first real friend. We went through the divorce, she got a kitten on her 4th birthday, her big brother got sick and we left the city for a cabin on the lake about an hour away. She started kindergarten at home, a couple of years later entered public school.

She lived for the Dairy Queen treat back then. If they made honor roll, I took them out for ice cream. Ironically they would usually choose old fashioned dilly bars (the cheapest thing on the menu) and loved it till the last lick. Those were my favorite days too...

She's a cross between prissy and tomboyish. She'd be the girl at the pool with the fancy little suit that cracked her head open doing back flips off the side. Or running through mud in a skirt. Catching frogs and then putting them in her little pink purse for safe keeping.

Tiger (her kitten turned tom cat) ran off, we made it through the tornado, and then moved back into town to stay with Grandmother. She used to sit in the floor at Grandmother's feet and watch television, and the two of them became very close. They would both sneak a yogurt before dinner, could eat a whole box of vanilla wafers together in one sitting... and both of them thought their job was to keep an eye on the other ;)

For her 8th birthday we had a big party at the pavillion. Balloons and cake and plenty of friends... and lots of wind. Napkins and balloons were flying everywhere and every present she unwrapped would make for more paper to catch. LOL, that party wore me out - but she had the time of her life.

And now she's 9. Halfway to "grown up". Here's hoping she stays sweet... but always keeps that spunk about her, too ;)

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Blogger Spam

I'm curious how many of you have used the new "word verification" feature to prevent spamming on your blogger blogs? For those of you that are using it... has it worked?

I would imagine it would prevent any automated posting, but would only be a minor setback to those spamming manually.

The owner of this blog: http://www.blog-society.com/affiliateprograms/ has spammed my blog relentlessly for the last 6 days. Using various user names and comments, but always including a link back to that blog with the anchor text "affiliate program" or "affiliate program blog".

They arent accomplishing much (outside of creating extra work for me), as I've been deleting them the minute they show up. What a waste of time and energy (for both of us).